Ivan Wyschnegradsky was a Russian-born composer who in the early 1920’s designed the first quarter-tone piano. For the next 30 years Wyschnegradsky developed an intricate system for composing microtonal music, producing numerous musical works and written articles. However it was not until the 1970s that his music finally found the audience that it deserved. Part of his newly acquired cult status among young composers was due to a day long series of concerts produced by Radio France on January 21, 1978. It was during one of those concerts, that Wyschnegradsky’s first major work, composed in 1916-17, “La Journée de l’Existence,” finally got its world premiere. For a composer who had been long ignored by his contemporaries, to hear his early masterpiece finally performed 60 years after it was first composed was by all accounts a very moving and uplifting experience. Although not a microtonal piece, “La Journée de l’Existence” does contain within it all the germs of the microtonal works that were to follow it. Based in part on certain visionary experiences that Wyschnegradsky had prior to its composition the work is in two parts, the first of which traces the history of the cosmic consciousness and the second the development of individual consciousness.
For more detailed program information and to browse other material in the Other Minds Archive visit: radiOM.org